Change of coun­try, same ca­reer!

French Property News - - Expert Advice -

James and Sue Ick­ringill had long had their own agency in UK, so it seemed log­i­cal to trans­fer those skills when they moved to France.

You were es­tate agents in the UK; tell us a bit about that. J - Since qual­i­fy­ing in 1981 I’ve al­ways been in­volved with the sale of prop­erty and chat­tels. We had our own prac­tice lo­cated in a World Her­itage Site. This in­volved the mar­ket­ing and sale of many listed build­ings which was both in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing. S - I was drawn into our prac­tice when the chil­dren were lit­tle, work­ing at the office orig­i­nally un­til we stepped into the 20th cen­tury and be­came com­put­erised! Then I worked from home a lot too.

When did you move to France, and why? S - We moved in July 2006 for a bet­ter ‘fam­ily ori­en­tated’ way of life, which we even­tu­ally achieved when James moved over here per­ma­nently – he com­muted for five years!

How was your prop­erty hunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence? S – Dis­heart­en­ing; no agent would show us any of the prop­er­ties we’d pre­ar­ranged to see!

What did you buy? J - We fell in love with a lo­gis re­quir­ing work (hence the com­mut­ing) in the coun­try­side close to the Char­ente/dor­dogne bor­der.

De­scribe your new life S - Hec­tic, but re­ward­ing. We fi­nally found ‘us’; we got off the UK tread­mill and all the fi­nan­cial ties, stopped com­pet­ing and started to please our­selves! J - No pres­sure to keep up with the Jone­ses. We’re much busier than ex­pected on both work and so­cial fronts. Dis­cus­sion with friends over din­ner about strim­mers, chain­saws and lawn mow­ers would be un­think­able in the UK!

Did you al­ways plan to work in France? S - Yes, though noth­ing specif­i­cally in mind, just do­ing less than we used to do in the UK. The plan was al­ways to have a slower pace of life, but as it turns out, it’s not in our makeup! And then you be­came es­tate agents… again S - Hav­ing had 30 years of it in the UK, James had sworn off agency work, un­til he got fed up re­build­ing walls in the gar­den. It’s what he knows and loves. We worked to­gether in the UK, so why not here too?

What are the main dif­fer­ences be­tween the job you do now and the one you did in the UK? S - There’s much more emo­tional in­vest­ment. You be­come much closer to the buyer by na­ture of the French buy­ing cul­ture. J - The job in France en­tails greater in­ter­ac­tion with the buyer and sale process from ini­tial en­quiry to the date of com­ple­tion and in many cases well be­yond.

What ad­vice would you give to the next gen­er­a­tion of prop­erty hunters? S - Be hon­est. You can strike up a much bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with an agent, in­evitably lead­ing to a smoother ride. J - Hook up with an agent you can trust. This will save con­sid­er­able time and frus­tra­tion.

Is France your ‘for­ever home’? S - Ab­so­lutely! We’re lucky that our chil­dren have set­tled here so well. We’re now the proud grand­par­ents of a six-month-old girl! There’s no way I’m go­ing any­where any­time soon!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.